Farmington, N.M. – Guided by a vision to strengthen San Juan College (SJC) through improved working conditions for faculty and a stronger learning environment for students, the San Juan College Education Association (SJCEA), an affiliate of NEA-NM, successfully secured its first collective bargaining contract, which goes into effect immediately. After months of negotiations with administration that ultimately led to an impasse, SJCEA presented its case before a federal arbitrator who ultimately ruled in favor of the faculty’s proposal.
In response to this outcome, SJCEA President and Professor of Math, Gerald Williams stated:
“I along with my colleagues are deeply committed to the mission of SJC and our students’ learning. We believe the arbitrator’s decision will allow faculty and staff to better fulfill this mission and strengthen our community.”
San Juan College is not immune from the exodus of educators in New Mexico, from pre-K to higher education institutions which has been intensified by the pandemic. This first contract win is significant because it lays an important foundation for future negotiations to continue improving working conditions to recruit and retain the best faculty for students. Williams continued, “SJC is located far from the other population centers in the state and our ability to retain high quality personnel has a direct impact on learning, and faculty see themselves as the stewards not only of their students’ education in the classroom but also of their contributions beyond, in the communities they will eventually work and serve in.”
Over the past couple of years, faculty at San Juan have demonstrated resilience and adapted to the challenges from a pandemic that continues impeding learning. Nonetheless, SJCEA is committed to working with administration in addressing these challenges and building a stronger future for the college.
NEA-NM State President Mary Parr-Sanchez underscores a growing trend:
This first contract is the latest in a series of important inroads by faculty and graduate students across the state that have formed their respective unions for respect and a seat at the table of decision making to strengthen education for all of New Mexico’s students. We congratulate NEA-NM members of SJCEA on their success!